UPDATE: Highway 96 reopens in McKinney Fire area; some evacuees can visit homes

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Highway 96 has reopened in the McKinney Fire area for piloted traffic only, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

The opening applies to the highway along the Klamath River from Beaver Creek to Kohl Creek. Drivers can expect delays of at least 30 minutes, the sheriff's office said.

The opening helps previously-evacuated residents from along the highway who will have access to their property from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Highway 96 along the Klamath River reopened Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in the McKinney Fire area for piloted traffic only, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office announced. The reopening covers Beaver Creek to Kohl Creek and drivers were told to expect delays of at least 30 minutes.
Highway 96 along the Klamath River reopened Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in the McKinney Fire area for piloted traffic only, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office announced. The reopening covers Beaver Creek to Kohl Creek and drivers were told to expect delays of at least 30 minutes.

Those residents need to meet with Siskiyou Environmental Health representatives at the Collier Rest Area off Interstate 5 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to be cleared before going to their homes, the sheriff's office said.

"All other roadways in the area remain closed due to numerous safety hazards in the area. Roadways off Highway 96 remain under evacuation order. We will update the public as hazards are cleared," the sheriff's office said.

Residents who need to contact officials on Saturday or Sunday can call Shannon Vanella at 530-598-3084, the sheriff's office said.

Meanwhile, a new fire called the George Fire was reported Thursday afternoon southwest of Scott Bar on Scott River Road near the Sugarpine River Access in western Siskiyou County.

The fire was burning between 5 to 10 acres. The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office issued an evacuation warning for Zone SIS-1236, which included:

  • North of Scott River Road

  • South of Highway 96

  • East of Scott River Road, Forest Route 46n64

  • West of Scott River Road

Here's the status of fires burning in the North State.

McKinney Fire

Containment remained at 75% Thursday — up from 60% Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire didn't grow overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, remaining at 60,389 acres.

The blaze has destroyed a total of 185 structures and injured seven firefighters. Four people have died.

Yeti and Alex Fires

Crews made progress on the Yeti Fire — formerly called the China 2 Fire — and the Alex Fire, both burning in the Klamath National Forest in western Siskiyou County.

The Yeti blaze was 79% contained Thursday at 7,886 acres. The Alex Fire was 90% contained at 151 acres.

More: 'We don't let anything stop us': Siskiyou fair's junior livestock auction moves to Oregon

Six Rivers Lightning Complex

The Six Rivers Lightning Complex is burning in the Six Rivers National Forest in Humboldt and Trinity counties.

The complex of five fires grew to 12,375 acres as of Thursday and remained uncontained.

Shasta County residents could see the smoke toward the west, the Cal Fire Shasta-Trinity Unit said Thursday.

The blazes continue to threaten communities along the Trinity River as they burn north and south of Highway 299. Evacuations remain around Willow Creek, Friday Ridge, Salyer and Trinity Village.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office issued additional evacuation warnings on Wednesday for people living northeast of Willow Creek, located on Highway 299 in eastern Humboldt County.

For a full list of evacuation zones and centers go to bit.ly/3vUniNq.

Jessica Skropanic is a features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers science, arts, social issues and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter @RS_JSkropanic and on Facebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Nor Cal recreation Facebook group. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today. Thank you.

This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight: Hwy 96 reopens in McKinney Fire area; some evacuees get home access